The EASTERN Breeze
Marty Levenstein

After months of anticipation, the Editors Guild became the owner of new office space for the Eastern Region in early October. We desperately needed space for membership meetings and industry events, and we wanted a place that would encourage folks to drop by during and after work hours.

We hold all sorts of meetings at the offices of other unions — from negotiations, to meetings with city and state film commissioners, to union events. Discussing projects somewhere else creates a “disconnect” for people, and we believe that bringing these meetings into our new home will put post production at the forefront of their minds. The new office will be modern and functional and have plenty of space for membership meetings, industry events and training.

The new office is located at 145 Hudson Street in the heart of the Tribeca filmmaking community. It will have a suite of offices for our staff, one of which will include a small conference table for meetings with producers and members. We will have a large conference meeting room that can hold up to 35 people, with moveable dividers that will create a separate space for a training area with consoles and equipment. There will also be a common support area for office equipment such as the copy machine and the computer server.

One of the main features of the new training area is a donated Avid system, courtesy of David Frasco and Kevin Johnston in the New York Avid office. The system will be upgraded every six months, giving members the opportunity to learn about the latest innovations. The architectural firm in charge of the renovation, Caples-Jefferson, has designed the Avid training area to be secured and at one side of the overall conference space, so the system will be out of the way and safe when we use the room for larger gatherings.

Since we’re now located literally around the corner from many of the top independent production companies in New York, we hope to use the space for negotiations with independent and documentary film producers, in effect bringing the Guild to them. The conference room will also be available for networking and social gatherings, and we will be able to host events, which offers us an exciting opportunity to become much more visible to the filmmaking and television community in New York.

The renovation has begun, and we hope to move in by late February or early March. The Editors Guild would like to thank the Eastern Region directors and alternates who chose the architectural firm and have worked so hard to make this a reality — directors Louis Bertini, Laura H. Congleton, Peter C. Frank, Marc Laub, A. Maddy Shirazi, and alternates Damian Begley, Kent Blocher, Harry Peck Bolles, Lou Ceborino, and Carrie Puchkoff.

I want to encourage editors working in freelance documentaries to continue to call the New York office about creating union contracts for their projects. Over the past year, many of you have called, and we have been able to successfully write contracts that provide full health, pension and individual account plan benefits, while tailoring the deals to meet the unique conditions of the productions in question. These freelance contracts are “project-only” agreements that cover the employer for the specific documentary only. There is no further obligation by the employer once post production is complete.

This type of contract works very well for documentaries, since most independent producers receive funding on a project-by-project basis. Many of these producers have limited or no experience with the Guild and union contracts, and these project-only agreements are great opportunities to introduce them to us. Usually, we are able to craft something that everyone finds acceptable. We also walk producers and their accountants through the paperwork required by the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans and follow up on any issues or concerns that the producers might have with the plans at a later date.

Our success with these documentaries demonstrates how much we can accomplish when members and staff coordinate their efforts and work together. Please continue to call me and report non-union employment, and I will work with you to help get your work covered, so you will continue to receive health coverage and pension credits, along with certain protections to ensure payment. I can be reached at (212) 302-0700, ext. 17.